The Art of Making Trades

The Art of Making Trades

David LeisureDavid Leisure, Ettiquete, Recent Posts, X -Fantasy Baseball7 Comments

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When you play fantasy sports, you need to master the art of making trades.  Sometimes you win the deal, and sometimes you lose the deal.  The best part of trading in fantasy sports is that you feel you are in control of your destiny. We think to ourselves that these moves are the building blocks to a championship.  While building ourselves up, that does not demand that we tear others down.  Finding the middle ground so that both parties feel that they come out winners in the deal should be the overall goal in your trading practices.

Fantasy trading is most practical when it comes to keeper leagues.  If you are in a redraft league where you start from scratch every year, trading tends to be top heavy, so this article will be directed to keeper formats.

We all know what the arguments are against trading:  1) It takes away from the preparation some do for the draft itself. Why prepare for a draft when everyone is going to be making trades anyways?  2) Some people go way overboard and make trade offers on a daily basis that are so ridiculous it makes me wonder if they are really serious or just plain dumb? 3) Trade rape is the greatest crime committed in the fantasy sports arena and it happens every day.

All these points are valid and true.

My counter to these arguments would be that your draft strategy can acknowledge the forthcoming trades as an expected course of action within the rules. When you are building your roster in auction format or draft format, have a set of players that you do not have man crushes on. If you realize their overall values, they can be valuable trade commodities. Their values are subjective. No matter how many draft guides you buy, everyone has a unique perspective and ranks players differently. To those whom have those people in your league that make these ridiculous offers, you have to realize that’s just life.  In everyday life, we come across people that are clueless.  Some are comical.  Some are just off their rockers.  The best way to deal with these people in fantasy sports is through passive aggressiveness.   Yes, you will reject their offers, but when the day comes and one or more of the players you like is involved in one of their offers, choose to submit a counter.

Submitting A Counter Offer

When you submit a counteroffer, it helps establish a rapport between competitors.  This also provides opportunities for communication lines to open and collaboration to begin.  With every rejection and counter, I suggest a message be included expressing why you are not willing to trade the player they asked for and what you are willing and more importantly, unwilling to offer.  My competitors know me for having “untouchables” on my team- Players that under no circumstances will I trade away, so please don’t waste either of our times by making pointless offers.  By being upfront, you cut down on further spam in your email boxes and when you do receive offers from them in the future, hopefully they will comprehend your message.

The 40/60 Method

My method of trading has proven successful in both the short and long term.  Think on the 40/60 method in terms of balancing a scale.  I want to present what will be perceived as slightly unbalanced in my teade partner’s favor, with a target distribution of 60 him, 40 me.

Your trade partner is only going to accept your offer if he feels like he is getting more than he is giving up, so when you implement the 40/60 method, your odds of success go way up right from the start.

Short term, you may lose the individual deal, but if you get the player you want and he pans out as you expected, that 40/60 deal normally comes out at least 50/50 if not greater long term.  Moreover, you build a trading relationship with that competitor so that down the road they feel you treated them fairly, that they wish to reciprocate and in those cases, you push for the 60 side of the offer because they are the ones coming to you.

With this strategy of fair trading practices, you build a reputation across your league that you are shrewd, but fair.  This will make you a favorite amongst the league and will set examples for others in their negotiations that do not involve you and your league will be better for it.

Evaluating The Trade

To evaluate a trade properly we must always be aware of where we stand now and the end goal. Am I trading from a position of strength to address a weakness? Or am I so weak, that I need to set ablaze to what I have and start anew?  When you are making these self-evaluations, try to line up a list of players you feel are expendable and those who are critical to your success in both short and long term.  If you are having a good run and feel you need to address a weakness, don’t just look to those whom are having bad years with their team as farm systems, but look to your main competition as well.  Your strength may be their weakness and vice versa.

The evaluation of trades is always going to be subjective, but bad trades certainly ruin leagues.  Every trade made will receive scrutiny from various parties regardless of how fair the 2 parties involved in the deal believe it to be.  There is absolutely no way around this fact.  I could tell you that if everyone is fully educated on players’ values, lopsided trades should not happen.  We do not live in a perfect world.  Some people are just smarter than others.  Some people are just dumber than a box of rocks.

We must rehabilitate those traders that feel the need to take advantage of others in the world and teach them how to trade fairly for the betterment of their leagues and the sanity of their commissioners. How many commissioners have had leagues crumble by the wayside because of someone pillaging and plundering the league’s box of rocks and the other smart guys and gals whining “THAT’S NOT FAIR! I’M QUITTING!”

The beauty of fantasy sports is that there are various ways to play and win.  Trading is a practice that can be messy at times by those whom take advantage of the weak, but trading is also an art form that when practiced correctly, may make leagues more enjoyable and increase long term profits for those that perfect it.

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7 Comments on “The Art of Making Trades”

  1. As a League Manager and also an active trader I have taken myself out of the veto process and allow the team owners to police their own league. With 8 teams it takes 4 vetoes to kill the trade. The first trade I made resulted in whines and bitching about why I didn’t veto my own trade! Allowing all owners trades to be judged by their peers seems to have solved most of the complaints. I have been accused of plundering and accused of only trading with teams under me in the standings. The last few years I have been consistently in the top 2 positions during the season so it’s hard not to trade with lesser teams. As my strategy I don’t like to trade with teams above me in the standings. Trades for the most part are based on needs with the bottom few teams usually needing the most. That being said I make most make a trade proposals to make MY team better not the other. Weather that be long or short term. The lower place team may be criticized for making a dumb deal but sometimes they need to take a risk if they want to improve. I’ve found that the owners that bitch and threaten to quit the most are also the ones that never trade and when they try there proposals are so insanely stupid that they seriously need a course in fantasy trading cause they haven’t a clue how to structure a deal. When you propose a deal not only is it important to identify your needs but you have to be sensitive to theirs. Like if I own Rizzo at 1st base and someone wants him via trade I would want a replacement for him. Maybe not the same caliper but I don’t want to be left with no player to plug into that spot. There are smart aggressive fantasy owners and there are casual ones that aren’t up on everything. Pointing the unfair, cheating finger at one that is good at his craft is unfair in itself. Everyone can trade to whom ever they want if you don’t want to trade that’s fine but don’t expect the whole league to play the game your way.

  2. Profile photo of JMan70

    What formulas do you use to answer the 60/40 rule? Can you take like the current player ranking and say my guy is ranked 40th but I’ll take the 60th best player for him?
    How should you evaluate your team before the red flags go up saying you need to make a trade? Or do you evaluate an opponent’s team and assess what a threat they are to you… Are you calling people who make trades based on emotion dumber than a box of rocks?
    Trade rape occurs when someone uses personal information on someone to force them to make a trade- that’s why it has this harsh name and obviously it is uncommon with anyone over 14 years old. Bad trades happen because people don’t follow the 60/40 rule so guidelines need to be further established so fantasy players have paradigms to work within.

  3. Profile photo of Corey D Roberts

    Man do I have some stories to tell here. I have never had a league blow up on me in 10 years, but I have had people threaten to quit. Truth be told they all came back to play the following year. I don’t let temper tantrums change the way we commish the leagues. Matter of fact I normally get rid of them the following year, not the other way around.

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